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Heapsylon, the company behind a line of sensor-integrated clothing products, has scored a deal with British shoe company Vivobarefoot to sell its Sensoria socks alongside the Vivo shoes. The socks track how a runner places his or her foot as well as steps. The idea is to go beyond a pedometer when it comes to helping runners track their fitness routines.
Vivobarefoot is well-known for shoes that are optimized for barefoot running (only with shoes!). Getting the socks in stores that sell Vivo shoes will target the well-heeled runners that are most likely to buy the socks. The Sensoria socks come with an anklet and retail for $200 for a package of four.
Heapsylon, which I’ve covered because I like the idea of washable imbued fabrics, started with the aforementioned socks but is also offering sports bras (yay!) and shirts that can track an athlete’s heart rate using sensors inside the clothing as opposed to the strapped-on monitors. Those are available for pre-order and will be out in January and February respectively.
I’m pretty sure that 2014 won’t be the year smart fabrics and clothing hit the mainstream, but early adopters are going to have some cool options from Heapsylon and companies like Hexoskin. I’m stoked about these real-world goods as well as some of the conceptual articles of clothing, such as Artefact’s Pilates shirt. I’d like to see the physical hardware inside the shirts be an open platform for developers to build out apps or algorithms based on a specific sport.
For example, a shirt that tracks my heart rate is fun, but what if it also offered some haptic feedback when I strayed from my target zone for a workout. Or perhaps with the use of more sensors (and the haptic feedback) it could be repurposed to help me achieve the right posture for yoga poses? Outside of fitness, a shirt or a bra that reminded me to sit up straight or indicated when I should take a break from my computer would be kind of cool. I’m looking forward to the day that wearables isn’t just focused on glasses and watches.